The word “relax” and “dentist” are two words that you don’t put together in one sentence but these days, you can even add the word “soothing” and it won’t seem out of the ordinary, thanks to the invention and emergence of dental spas.

A dental spa is defined as a dental facility that is supervised by a licensed oral health care provider and a place where dental services are provided alongside spa treatments. This has spawned a new branch of dentistry known as spa dentistry, which refers to dental practices that offer services not normally offered at most dental offices like facials, paraffin wax treatments, reflexology, micro-dermabrasion, massage therapy and even Botox treatments but this particular treatment is subject to the approval of the state dental board.

While dental spas may seem like a new concept, it has actually been practiced from the time of the ancient Greeks and Chinese, who all used certain methods to relax patients who are suffering from toothaches. During the 18th and 19th century, “barber surgeons” offered haircuts and shaves along with tooth extractions in Bath, England while a female dentist known only as Miss Curris, is credited for creating the first dental spa because she offered skin and body care with her dental treatments.

Nothing relaxes a person more than being massaged in various parts of their body, and it seemed that being massaged while undergoing certain dental treatments have shown a huge effect as far as making the patient relax is concerned. In some studies, massage therapy was found to be more calming and soothing to patients than the prospect of being anesthetized. For one, massages release endorphins and lower blood pressure. Many studies that center on dental fear have all given the same results: Patients suffering from dental fear have shown remarkable improvement with the use of behavioral methods rather than being talked out of their fear.

In addition to incorporating spa treatments, dentists have also gone out of their way to make use of feng shui, as well as create a relaxing and soothing environment to put their patients immediately at ease. Some offices go as far as providing neck pillows, fleece blankets and heated hand mitts to providing complimentary beverages and snacks while you wait, headphones for listening to ambient music and even parting gifts like wine and a bouquet of roses. Some have deigned to include salon services to their list of services – anything that will ease the tension that usually comes with knowing you are at the dentist’s office.

In addition to the obvious perks, there are even greater benefits of going to a dental spa that center more on your health and well-being than anything else. For one, it reduces stress particularly in patients with anxiety and heart-related conditions. It also contributes to patient safety as patients who feel relaxed and calm are less likely to injure themselves and are easier to work with than tense patients who squirm in their seats and make it known how unhappy they are to be there.

For pain-phobic patients or those who have certain drug allergies, dental spas also offer sedation dentistry which are drug-free alternatives that use tranquilizers, anti-anxiety medications and laughing gas to calm patients down.

Because of the increasing number of patients who prefer to go to dental spas than regular dental offices, it has been forecasted that the popularity and growth of these types of dental facilities will continue – in fact, up to five percent of dental practices offer spa dentistry in their list of services and at the fast rate they are growing, there will come a time that all dental offices will be referred to as dental spas and even better, there will come a time when patients will no longer fear going to the dentists’ – and all the world will have a better smile to show for it.